lunedì 8 febbraio 2010
Six By Seven "The Closer You Get"
Visioni violente si affollano nella mia mente ascoltando questo disco: rabbioso, tenebroso eppure così seducente. Magnifico. (2000 Mantra)
Six By Seven have been annoyed before by comparisons to Radiohead, and doubtless will be again. However, it is possible that The Closer You Get, their second album, may come to be seen to have the same relationship to their 1998 debut The Things We Make as The Bends does to Radiohead's nervous and patchy opening shot Pablo Honey. The Closer You Get is an assured, confident and complete record, and sounds very much like the fruition of the fearsome promise that Six By Seven have been exhibiting for some time. Though the mood of the album hardly deviates from beginning to end--this is music as sombre, serious and intense as the shadow-laden cover portrait--Six By Seven find a commendable number of shades within the darkness. "Sawn-Off Metallica T-Shirt" and "England And A Broken Radio" more than live up to the literate biliousness of their titles, and "New Year" is a fine redemptive ballad. (Andrew Mueller - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)
For many bands, their early career goes like this: at the start, they have little money, a lot to say, and possibly just one chance to say it. Later, they are a little more secure, they have a deal, and that sense of now or never has lessened somewhat. What this translates to, in terms of albums, is that their debut will often be a howl, a distillation of what they see themselves as standing for, whereas the second will be a bit more melodic, more mature; whether you regard this as a good thing or not depends entirely on perspective.
Six by Seven, on the other hand, went the other way. Their first album was a tremendous critical success, but rather than try to explore the grander sounds, on The Closer You Get they do just the opposite. The music echoes the lyrics; more desperate, more bitter, in love and yet cynical, depressed and yet funny, a mass of musical contradictions. In keeping with this more direct approach, the album flies out of the blocks with two songs that sound a lot like rabid badgers falling down a flight of stairs, ‘Eat Junk Become Junk’, and ‘Sawn off Metallica T-Shirt’. The two songs that make up the heart of the record, ‘Ten Places to Die’ and ‘My Life is an Accident’, feature two chords. Each.
It’s the sound of the most basic things in life; yearning, paranoia, frustration, hate, desperation and love. It’s an incredible work. It’ll change the way you think about music, and it’ll make you regret not having heard it before. Or you’ll hate it. There’s no middle ground here. (http://www.examiner.com/)
On The Closer You Get (Mantra, 2000), Six By Seven's rhythm and orchestration still sounds like a revival of the "Madchester" sound, but this time around the mix is too anemic (except on the peppery Sawn Off Metallica T-Shirt). Loudness alone does not redeem the lack of direction. Their psychedelic jams drift aimlessly, despite the thick production of guitar diarrheas and organ thrombosis. The band tried to rein in the excesses of The Things We Make but ended up with a mutilated version of itself. An enormous talent is wasted. The album is virtually a concept on the theme of desperation. (Piero Scaruffi - http://www.scaruffi.com)
There's a thin line between riveting and boring. Generally speaking, the boredom factor increases proportionately as a song lengthens. There are some notable exceptions to this rule, but it's only the truly gifted band that can pull off an epic without sounding presumptuous or sedated. As Six by Seven proved on their last outing, the somnolent The Things We Make, they're definitely not one of those bands.
Wisely, on The Closer You Get, Six by Seven shun any epic aspirations, opting instead to streamline their sound. Gone are the interminable, lazy guitar noodling of "European Me." Petals are pressed to the floor. Guitars mimic helicopters. Drums resemble a bumpy subway ride. And frontman Chris Olley sounds positively rabid beneath the raging volume. No longer finding solace in drawn-out detachment, Six by Seven are now focused and agitated. The results are immediate, and, at the very least, demand to be heard.
From the explosive opening monolith, "Eat Junk Become Junk," Six by Seven bristle with an intensity that would have been unthinkable on their previous LP. "Sawn Off Metallica T-shirt" mines a cutthroat fearlessness, the chainsaw guitars and thumping bassline threatening to erupt at any moment. Even when the lyrics disappear altogether or become indecipherable under the layers of noise, as on "Another Love Song," the band exudes an unmistakable menace.
This newfound attitude doesn't always serve them well, though. The melodic aspirations of "Don't Wanna Stop" and "Slab Square" are swept away in a tuneless, guitar maelstrom-- surprising when considering they're two of only four tracks on The Closer We Get produced by the untouchable John Leckie. Strangely, other tracks simply fail to reach their potential for lack of production. Relying on light guitar plucking and a touch of feedback, "England and a Broken Radio" is so slight it leaves you wishing Six by Seven had parked their social commentary at the door.
All told, The Closer You Get, winds up with more bluster than substance. These guys have the roar, now they just need to temper the assault and give the melodies some breathing room. Too often they allow the noise to compensate for underdeveloped material. However, given their rapid progress and attitude change, this misstep is both understandable and forgivable. For the time being, their remarkable stylistic transition is enough for us to keep listening. (Beatty & Garret - http://pitchfork.com/)
- Eat Junk Become Junk
- Sawn Off Metallica T Shirt
- Ten Places To Die
- New Year
- One Easy Ship
- My Life's An Accident
- Don't Wanna Stop
- Slab Square
- England And A Broken Radio
- Another Love Song
- Overnight Success
- One Hundred And Something Foxhall Road
SIX BY SEVEN